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The much anticipated August Update for Windows 8.1, formerly known as Update 2, has arrived and it’s not what we expected; but then we already knew that.
Is it even worth bothering? In short: YES!
In April, Microsoft hinted at the return of the Start Menu, with a second Windows 8.1 update due in August. In July, we learned that the new Start Menu will not appear until 2015, meaning rather than making an appearance in Windows 8.1, it will be rolled into Threshold, the codename of what might become Windows 9.
Now Microsoft promised to stuff their monthly Patch Tuesday with non-security improvements to Windows, which is why it’s been renamed to Update Tuesday.
Which Improvements Are Included In The August Update?
After delivering non-security updates to the Windows Store and OneDrive in previous months, this month’s first official Update Tuesday, also known as August Update, contains only one item worth mentioning: precision touchpad improvements.
This feature adds the following three end-user settings to control the behavior of precision touchpad devices:
- Leave touchpad on when a mouse is connected
- Allow right-clicks on the touchpad
- Double-tap and drag
You can find these settings under the Mouse and touchpad menu in PC Settings.
These are the two other updates, as announced on the Microsoft blog:
- Miracast Receive – exposes a set of Wi-Fi direct APIs for Independent Hardware Vendor (IHV) drivers or OEM drivers, to develop Windows 32-bit applications that run on all supported x86-based or x64-based versions of Windows 8.1, enabling the computer as a Miracast receiver.
Minimizing login prompts for SharePoint Online – reduces the number of prompts with federated use in accessing SharePoint Online sites. If you select the “Keep me signed in” check box when you log on for the first time, you will not see prompts for successive access to that SharePoint Online site.
Further minor updates include new settings and details for Windows Update and Recovery, support for the Ruble currency symbol, out-of-date ActiveX control blocking, and video capture metadata for MP4. Find more information in this August Update article by Microsoft Support [No Longer Available].
Should I Install The August Update?
Yes, absolutely! Other than these minor improvements, Update Tuesday contains 9 critical security patches. Since the main point of these monthly updates is to fix security vulnerabilities, you should generally enable automatic Windows Updates, at least for important updates.
To enable Windows Updates, press Windows key + F, search Everywhere for Windows Update and open it, select Change settings on the left-hand side, and select what you’d like Windows to do when Important, Recommended, or Microsoft updates become available.
If you don’t want Windows to automatically install stuff and force you to restart your computer whenever it pleases, you can allow it to download updates, but then choose yourself whether or not to install them. With that, you can of course choose not to download or install specific items of any given update package.
How Can I Get The August Update?
Starting this Tuesday, the August Update has been rolled out to users who have Automatic Updates enabled. You can use Windows Update to check whether you already have the update or to install it manually, provided you already installed Update 1.
Briefly, click Windows key + F, search Everywhere for Windows Update, then open it and click Check for updates in the sidebar. If you don’t see any important updates pending, the August Update must have been rolled out to your computer already.
To install pending updates, you can click the install button. To change the selection, click the text that says X important / optional updates are available and you’ll be taken to a list of those updates.
The August Update can be downloaded manually [No Longer Available].
What Can I Expect From Future Windows 8.1 Updates?
Mainstream Support for Windows 8.1 will end on January 9, 2018. Extended Support is scheduled to terminate on January 10, 2023. Until then, Microsoft will continue to release monthly updates on the second Tuesday of every month.
In addition to bug fixes, the Update Tuesday package may or may not include non-security improvements, although I doubt Microsoft will add any major new features to Windows 8.1. In terms of development and given its reputation, it’s safe to assume that Windows 8.1 has been depreciated. Right now, Microsoft is focusing on getting Windows 9 ready to be released in 2015.
What Is Missing From Windows 8.1?
If you could request Microsoft to fix bugs or include new features with future updates for Windows 8.1, what would you ask for?
You never know who’s listening, so let’s hear it in the comments!